CAPSELLA (Collective Awareness PlatformS for Environmentally-sound Land management based on data technoLogies and Agrobiodiversity) took its first steps on 1 January 2016. Just like the tiny yet sturdy little plant it takes the name from, the CAPSELLA project will deepen the roots of sustainability in agri-food systems by harnessing scientific and local knowledge, people’s energy, motivation and innovation skills around the theme of agro-biodiversity by making use of novel, improved and demand-driven ICT solutions. CAPSELLA will focus on two complementary domains: agro-biodiversity and the food supply chain. It will use participatory bottom up data collection and top down data integration to develop solutions for these domains. The project will build from scratch open data repositories concerning regional agro-biodiversity, and will build upon and enhance existing data sets on the agro-biodiversity and food domains. Based on these, the project will develop a number of community-driven data powered ICT solutions, which will be tested by the communities engaged in the project and will result in a number of pilots. At the centre of the CAPSELLA work will be three multidisciplinary, community-driven use cases:

  • “field scenario” addressing use of functional agro-biodiversity in cropping systems;
  • “seeds scenario” addressing on-farm genetic diversity conservation and informal seed systems;
  • “food scenario” addressing the transparency of the food chain in the processes related to the production, distribution and consumption of food.

CAPSELLA will build a sustainable technical prototyping platform, a meeting environment for innovation that democratizes access to big data, cloud computing, open data, open software and pilots. To do so, it will build up on on-line and off-line tools including the organisation of key events to raise awareness about the project and collect information by a bottom up approach. The project will have a strong societal and business sustainability focus by including incubation activities for selected pilots

CAPSELLA’s ambitious goal is to address and provide open data ICT solutions to sort out some key societal hot issues such as the proper use and management of agricultural land and agro-biodiversity, hence  to  ensure the understanding of the importance of good quality food as the last segment of the agro biodiversity process. Specifically, the project’s objectives are to:

  • Actively promote alternative agricultural production systems and behaviours that respect the environment and raise awareness on the importance of diversity at any level along the food supply chain in order to address the challenges of sustainability from farm to fork.
  • Strengthen collaboration within and between communities (small diversified farming, precision farming, food suppliers) and support their interactions with researchers (ICT and agro-biodiversity experts), hacker communities, civil society, and small businesses.
  • Support policy dialogue and development in the area of sustainable agri-food production
  • Develop an open source cloud based platform to support community based initiatives concerning biodiversity in agri-food systems and food quality.
  • Support open data driven innovation in the agri-food sector
  • Develop a number of community driven scenarios, innovative ICT applications for targeted communities, and run related pilots
  • Prototyping, Accelerating and run incubation activities

The last point is related to the CAPSELLA’s strong oriented “lab to market” approach that will  offer a stimulus for entrepreneurship, through contests, a technical and entrepreneurial bootcamp and an incubation award for the solutions brewed in the project.